Superhero’s Tool Belt


One of the coolest things about any superhero is the tools they use to solve their problems or catch the bad guys.  There’s so many of them, they always have the correct ones for the given application, and the chosen tool is always a perfect fit for the job.  This week on Around TI, the DIY superhero was introduced, and it got me thinking, what if?

DIY superhero

As a kid, watching the daily cartoon episode of Batman, I was always eagerly waiting to see which gizmo would be produced at just the right time to solve the climactic problem in the story.  Now a bit older, I wish I could find some of these gadgets at my local hardware store.  Two in particular, I just might have to design myself: the Batarang and grappling gun.

The Batarang (a.k.a. Batman’s boomerang) made an appearance in almost every episode.  It’s a tiny, throwable device used primarily to knock guns out of the villain’s hands.  Given that it’s entirely disposable (you’re throwing it towards the villain after all), an ultra-tiny power source such as a primary lithium battery or even a charged super cap would be all that’s required.  From such a source, I would use the TPS62730 which would be perfectly suited to power a Low Power Wireless solution, such as the CC2540 Bluetooth low energy system-on-chip.  With that and a few sensors, I could tell how far my Batarang went, how fast I threw it, and maybe even what it contacted when it stopped.  The TPS61220 would be an ideal, low power boost converter to power most of sensors, such as temperature, speed, and acceleration in each of the 3 axis.

Batarang power

Batarang power!

The grappling gun is similar to the standard grappling hook, though it’s much smaller and better.  It has to be, since it’s portable.  With it, I can scale the tallest building to get out of harm’s way. 

Grappling hook

For this gadget, we need a stronger power source than for the Batarang.  As well, Batman never lost the gun so we can count on reusing it.  A rechargeable single cell lithium battery is the way to go.  Depending on how many times I plan to use the gun before having a chance to recharge, I might need a bigger or smaller battery.  The battery capacity would also determine a suitable charger and there are plenty to choose from here

But, no matter how big I make the battery, I’ll probably need a ton of power stored to launch the hook.  The TPS61251 is perfect at taking the energy in my single cell lithium battery and charging super caps which store the pulsed energy that I need.  I can add as many super caps as needed to get sufficient range from the launch of the hook.  With such a tiny converter supporting a very small solution size, my grappling gun is sure to be handheld and easily wieldable.

What tools/gadgets/gizmos would your superheroes have that you can’t find at your local hardware store?  You might just need to consider designing it yourself.

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